Powerful Loretto Smacks Sale Creek, 3-1, For Class 1A State Volleyball Title

In Fourth Trip To Tourney, Lady Panthers Notch School's Best Finish

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - by Larry Fleming

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Loretto ruined what could have been a nice little celebration for Sale Creek on Thursday at the TSSAA Class 1A state volleyball tournament at Middle Tennessee State University.

Sale Creek (40-8), appearing in their fourth tournament and the title match for the first time, were victimized by a constant offensive attack and the potent Lady Mustangs rolled past the Lady Panthers, 3-1, to claim the title in impressive fashion by scores of 25-17, 19-25, 22-25 and 18-25.

“We thought we were ready for the match and wanted to beat them since they beat us first,” senior hitter Madysun Steele said after the match. “We won the first set and when they tied it 1-1 it was like the match was starting all over. We felt like we could play with them.

The fact was that Loretto, which beat Sale Creek 3-1 in both team’s tournament opener, began a power move at the get-go and never relented. The Lady Mustangs had four players with double-digit kills – Mary Beth Cotton (19), Raven Chance (11) and Shelby Ridgeway and Karly Weathers, each with 10. Loretto had a combined 61 in the match.

Sale Creek struggled to keep up. Steele had 20 kills and Sydney Gibson added 19, a combination that supplied a majority of the team’s attack all season. The Lady Panthers’ kill total was 51.

“Loretto was definitely more consistent us today and they just kept pounding,” said coach Debbie Hill, who completed her 38th season coaching. She has spent 50 years at the North Hamilton County school as a student and coach.

“This was our fourth state tournament and we finished fifth, fourth, third and second. I’m happy for the girls and it was a great season,” the coach added.

Sale Creek had a 70 percent attack rate in the first set, successfully hitting 12 of 17 attempts. However, the Lady Panthers finished the match making 42 of 91 for 46 percent.

Steele and Gibson went into the title match with 70 kills each. Steele’s total went to 90 and Gibson’s 89 at the end of the day.

Loretto’s opening percentage was 47, but the ended with 50 percent on 43 of 85 attacks.

Sale Creek’s attacks go through setter Jayda Perry and 5-foot-4 senior was brilliant again in the most important match in school history. Perry had 44 of the team’s 49 assists and pushed her tournament total to 226.

However, that stat didn’t stop the flow of tears in the Murphy Center hallway when the title round ended.

“I feel pretty bad,” Perry said. “They were really strong on the right side and they played the same in the first time we played them. And, we did too.”

Loretto had an answer to Sale Creek’s leading up-front weapons. Brooke Buttrum registered a match-high 49 assists, including 17 in the third set when the Lady Mustangs (34-10) took a 2-1 lead.

In the key category of digs, the Lady Panthers, who lose six seniors, collected 71 with Avery Cox (16) and Kayla Phillips (12) accounting for 28.

Conversely, Loretto had 83 digs and place five players in double figures, with Buttrum leading with 18 and Cotton close with 17.

All those number advantages for the Lady Mustangs led to a jubilant trip home.

The Lady Panthers were feeling their oats in the opening set, breaking away from a 12-11 lead by scoring eight of the next 10 points to build a 20-13 advantage. Loretto put up four straight points – Bailey Brown had two kills and Cotton one – in the mini-spurt.

Steele had a steal and block in Sale Creek’s four-point run and coupled with a Loretto error reached 24 points. A Loretto error produced the 25th point.

The Lady Mustangs then began their comeback march that overwhelmed the Lady Panthers.

With the second set tied 6-6, Loretto unleashed a 9-1 run for a 15-7 margin. Sale Creek was within 22-19 later, but the Lady Mustangs got the final three points on Weathers’ kill, Brown’s slap and Cotton’s ace.

Sale Creek battled in a face-to-face showdown in the third set and the scored was level at 20-20. A closing 5-2 spree gave the set to Loretto.

Two sets down. One to go.

Loretto opened with four straight points. Nursing a 17-11 lead, the Lady Panthers closed the gap to two points with a 4-0 run – Steele and Gibson each had a kill. The Lady Mustangs were up 21-18 and Cotton scored three points and a Sale Creek unforced error resulted in the other point.

“For sure, Loretto had the most power and they played smarter than we did,” Steele said. “We didn’t make the shots we needed to make. But we did great things this season. It was amazing. We just needed one more win.”

What did Sale Creek need to do to change the outcome?

“I don’t know,” Perry said. “We didn’t do the basics and made some stupid mistakes.”

Championship Statistics

Sale Creek

Reagan Ayres – 2 kills, 4 digs, 1 block

Sydney Gibson – 19 kills, 3 digs, 5 blocks

Lillie Morgan – 3 kills, 7 digs 1 block

Jayda Perry – 5 kills, 44 assists, 9 digs, 2 blocks

Kayla Phillips – 2 kills, 1 assist, 12 digs, 2 blocks

Madysun Steele – 20 kils, 1 assist, 9 digs

Avery Cox – 3 assists, 16 digs

Allison Smith – 5 digs

Ruthie Parks – 6 digs


Shelby Ridgeway – 10 kills, 1 assist, 6 digs, 3 blocks

Bailey Brown – 8 kills, 14 digs, 3 blocks

Mary Beth Cotton – 19 kills, 5 assists, 17 digs, 1 block

Brooke Buttrum – 3 kills, 49 assists, 18 digs

Karly Weathers – 10 kills, 11 digs, 5 blocks

Raven Chance – 11 kills, 1 assists, 1 dig, 3 blocks

Jaden Ezell – 10 digs

Jenna Huntley – 6 digs

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)




Covenant Athletics Leads USA South Presidents Cup

PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Sequoyah at Red Bank William Blount at Bradley Sale Creek at Sunbright CSAS at Notre Dame McCallie at Riverdale Rhea Co. at Ooltewah ... (click for more)

Round 3 - Quarterfinals Friday, November 16th (All times 7:00 p.m. Local) Class 1A South Pittsburg (11-1) at Whitwell (12-0) Class 2A South Greene (8-4) at Meigs ... (click for more)

After having a successful fall season, Covenant athletics currently ranks first in the overall USA South Presidents Cup standings, and also first in the women's cup rankings, announced the conference ... (click for more)



PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Sequoyah at Red Bank William Blount at Bradley Sale Creek at Sunbright CSAS at Notre Dame McCallie at Riverdale Rhea Co. at Ooltewah Sequatchie Co. at Signal Mountain FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Soddy Daisy at Boyd-Buchanan Grace Academy at Copper Basin Silverdale at Knoxville Grace SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 ... (click for more)


Round 3 - Quarterfinals Friday, November 16th (All times 7:00 p.m. Local) Class 1A South Pittsburg (11-1) at Whitwell (12-0) Class 2A South Greene (8-4) at Meigs Co. (12-0) Class 3A Red Bank (11-0) at Upperman (12-0) Division II-AAA McCallie (10-1) at MUS (10-0) (click for more)

Breaking News

County Putting $10 Million Toward New Shelter For Humane Education Society

County officials are committing $10 million toward a new shelter for the Humane Education Society (HES). Only Commissioner Tim Boyd spoke against the allocation at a commission meeting on Wednesday. He said a more urgent need was a $5 million training center for police, fire and emergency workers. County Finance Director Albert Kiser said the county came up with a total $14 ... (click for more)

Several Large Trucks Get Stuck On Lookout; 1 Demolishes Wall On Ochs Extension

Lookout Mountain, Tn., Commissioner Jim Bentley said there has been a lot of concern with large trucks on Ochs Highway. In the past month five different trucks have been stuck at the top of the road. Additionally, a large truck hit and demolished the rock wall at the top curve on Ochs Extension. These roads are both owned and maintained by the city of Chattanooga. Commissioner ... (click for more)


Thanks To First Volunteer Bank

Thank you to the Highway 58 branch of First Volunteer Bank. On behalf of the Ernie Pyle Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, I would like to express our appreciation to the manager and staff of the HIghway 58 Branch of First Volunteer Bank for putting on a Veterans Day lunch in the lobby of your bank on Friday, Nov. 9. It was a cold and rainy day and Army, Marines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s A Racist Thing

Being a child of the South, I’ve marveled at our funny sayings for all of my life. I’ve been at a football game and heard a disgruntled fan in the stands say of his team’s quarterback, “That boy couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.” I’ve been at the Sunday supper table and heard, “I’m of a mind each one of his sermons is better than the next.” And I’ve sat in a Saturday morning ... (click for more)